Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Review: Captive

A.J. Grainger
Young Adult/Thriller
272 pages
Simon & Schuster BFYR
Available Now
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
When a teen is held hostage, her efforts to escape uncover a conspiracy that forces her to question everything in this psychological thriller with a twist of forbidden romance.

They told her not to worry—
because the man who shot her father was in custody.
They told her that she was safe—
because security had been increased.

All it took was one opportunity, one breach,
and then she was theirs. Kidnapped, confined, alone.

They told her she could go home when their demands were met.
That it wouldn’t take long, because she was the prime minister’s daughter.

But it has been days, and still no help has come.

She wonders when they will tire of this game and kill her.

She cannot wait around for that to happen; she will escape. She has to.

Captive draws us in immediately, a quick flashback to Robyn’s father bleeding on the snow in Paris yanking us into this story before we’re flipped back to the present and the building tensions that lead to Robyn’s kidnapping.

Robyn starts out handling her kidnapping in a way we only hope we ourselves would if we were ever in her shoes, managing to stay sharp and calm as she evaluates both her kidnappers and the environment in which she’s kept. She uses every available opportunity to free herself but doesn’t take unnecessary risks, making survival her number one priority and escape her second. Her time with Scar, Feather and Talon is broken up by flashbacks to her time in Paris with her dad (who’s also the British Prime Minister), connective threads between the two events slowly but surely forming until the whole truth is revealed and Robyn finds herself having to look at her world through entirely new eyes.

While Robyn is strong, smart and beautifully level-headed in the first half of this story, the second half sees a marked slip in believability, the  realistic stress and tension of a horrific situation giving way to a more fantastical showdown between Robyn, her kidnappers and those attempting to rescue her. The romance between her and Talon (one of the people holding her hostage) is understandable for the most part–Robyn latching on to the one person who offers her the smallest of kindnesses in a life or death situation–but her affection for him leads her wildly astray in the concluding chapters. Chaos and unlikely scenarios
ensue, detracting from the heart-pounding realism of the first half and leaving us wishing this thriller had ended as strongly as it started.

Overall Captive is a lightning-quick and enjoyable read, but the shift in Robyn from a savvy heroine who keeps calm under pressure to a young woman who risks everything for a boy she just met keeps this one from a higher rating.

*I think it does the first half a disservice to split the difference and give an overall rating of 3.5, so I've done separate ratings instead:)

First half: 4/5
Second half: 3/5

Find A.J.

This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.


  1. not an easy topic but it sounds really interesting in fact. I haven't read a book like that yet.

  2. Yeah, the first half of this one sounds a lot better than the second half. If the entire book was like the first half, I'd want to read it for sure; but since it's not, I'm probably not going to end up reading this one simply because I don't read a lot of thrillers.

  3. Kind of a bummer that the second half wasn't quite as good as the first darn it, I hate it when that happens but I love the way you rated and reviewed this Jenny!

  4. Dammit, I was so very intrigued and ready to go for this one because of the first half, but then what you said about the second half... nope, I don't think I'd like this one as much, and I'd be quite frustrated on the second half of the book.
    Thank you for the great review Jenny!

  5. Yeah I'd be more of a fan of the first half too. I understand finding love (?) in the most unusual places, but I'm surprised she forgot her survival instinct that quickly!

  6. I hate when only half of a book is great. Well great review! :)

  7. humm ummm romance between her and one of the captors? ;/ I guess

  8. This one sounded really interesting but if the romance makes her act stupid in the second half of the book, I don't think I could enjoy this one. If you want a very realistic take on a kidnapping I can't recommend Ruthless enough. It's very well done and the heroine was amazing.

  9. That's too bad that the second half isn't quite as good. That can be really frustrating. For the most part this sounds pretty good and I'm actually quite curious about it so I may watch for a copy to show up somewhere. :)

  10. I agree that the first half sounds a lot stronger than the last half. I think I'm going to take a pass on this one and pick up "Ruthless" instead which has a similar vibe to it.

  11. Hmmm... This one sounds thrilling and so dangerous, but I struggle with the romantic feelings toward a captor, even though I get the psychological part of it,

  12. It's really tough when the second half of a novel doesn't quite compare to the first half, so I'm not sure whether or not I'll pick this up knowing that, but I am certainly intrigued by the first half of it for sure. Lovely review, Jenny!

  13. Hm....but at least the second part was still good

  14. Oooh. Ouch. It's tough when a book that holds such promise in the first half veers off into a different direction. Almost hope that books would be the other way around.

  15. Ah, it drives me nuts when a book starts out epic and then just kinda flops. It still sounds fantastic, though! Adding it to my TBR, for sure.

  16. Ahhh, that always irks me when it starts off so promising, then something happens and the ending just doesn't measure up. Looks like you enjoyed it overall though, so that's a plus. I'm considering reading this one myself - it sounds so good!!

  17. Huh. So she develops Stockholm Syndrome or what? It sounds like a really interesting book.

  18. This is such an interesting book. Never heard of it. I hope this book will be at our local bookstore soon.

    Yani at Paper Boulevard

  19. Very intense sounding! Hmmm, that's too bad the ending (and Robyn) went off track with such a strong beginning. I'm with Nick - try Ruthless if you wnat a stronger heroine throughout - I could not catch my breath with it (seemed like it anyway)!

  20. I haven’t heard about this book before, and blurb sounds very interesting. Sorry to hear that second half wasn’t as strong as the first, though. I think I would prefer realistic approach too. Great review, Jenny.

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